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The Electric calls for halt to advertising hoarding plan

Owner of historic cinema says lamp post is already impeding views and wants council to drop plans to attach a new ad board     

The owner of Birmingham's famous cinema The Electric is calling on the city council to drop plans to place a new advertising board outside the historic building.

A lamp post was erected outside the cinema in Station Street 18 months ago which The Electric's owner Thomas Lawes says is ruining the view of the building for people taking photographs and he has been asking for it to be moved.

Birmingham City Council has now lodged a new planning application to put non-illuminated advertisement banners on this lamp post and two others in the street, something which Mr Lawes says will impede the view even further.

As the UK's oldest working cinema, The Electric is a popular draw for tourists but also as a location for filming and as a backdrop to marital photos as the venue holds a wedding licence.

He said: "We host loads of weddings and people love coming to have their photos taken outside of the cinema.

"The lamp post was put in overnight around the time the revamped New Street station opened and we came in the next day and thought 'You are joking'.

The Electric cinema - complete with lamp post - in Birmingham city centre
The Electric cinema - complete with lamp post - in Birmingham city centre

"When the station opened, we were promised shops and a café culture outside but the new station has not made the slightest difference.

"The situation is starting to get really frustrating and, to add insult to injury, the valuation office have just increased our business rates by 300 per cent which is certainly the largest for any cinema."

In a letter to the council, Mr Lawes added: "The light only needs to be moved one metre further up the street to avoid blocking the view but, despite complaining to the highways department and even lobbying through the Southside Business Improvement District by Coun Penny Holbrook, the obstruction remains.

"Any advertising banner will make this situation even worse so, clearly, we object in the strongest terms."

Birmingham City Council said: "We cannot comment on advertisement applications which are currently being assessed.

"However, any comments made via the council’s website prior to the determination of this application will be considered as part of the process."

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